In June 2020, my work writing for the Examiner caught the attention of this legendary alt-weekly, leading the editor to reach out to me for an op-ed. What began as commentary on the George Floyd protests led to semi-regular columns, regular arts reviews, and cover stories about the intersection of art and race in the Bay Area.
(Also available on my official byline page.)
Reviews and Previews
In addition to the articles I wrote below, which began in 2020, I began writing proper critiques and previews of Bay Area productions for the Weekly in March 2021.
- Preview: ACT’s inaugural Out Loud series (March 2021) (My reviews of the readings are here, here, and here on this site)
- Review: Noelle Viñas’ Feel the Spirit world premiere by Shotgun Players (April 2021)
- Review: Lisa Peterson’s Waves in Quarantine by the Berkeley Rep (May 2021)
- Review: Christopher Chen’s Communion world premiere by ACT (June 2021)
- Review: Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths revival at SF Playhouse (June 2021)
- Preview: 2021 Bay Area Playwrights Festival (July 2021)
- Review: Lauren Yee’s Song of Summer at SF Playhouse (July 2021)
The first (but not last) piece I wrote that landed on the cover of the Weekly.
“Exit, Pursued by COVID-19” (aka “Open Doors, Empty Seats“) (August 2021)
My very first cover story wasn’t planned as such. After writing my 2020 PianoFight article for the SF Examiner, I pitched a year-plus follow-up to cover their planned re-opening show. When the Delta Variant led the cancellation of both that show and several others, I was then offered the opportunity to cover this in detail for SF Weekly (which, like the Examiner, is owned by the San Francisco Media Company).
Though the pandemic was intended to be the sole focus, I also pursued the outcome of 2020’s reckoning with race and racism in performing arts. It’s one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever worked on.
Articles and Op-Eds
After writing for the Examiner, my work caught the attention of the editor for the SF Weekly. What began as commentary on the murder of George Floyd led to semi-regular columns about the intersection of art and race in the Bay Area. In June 2020, the renowned alt paper reached out to me for a personal essay about the murder of George Floyd. This was soon followed by many other pieces about art and race from the perspective of a San Francisco native.
“We Want to Live” (aka “On Being Black in San Francisco“) (June 2020)
When the murder of George Floyd occurred, the editor reached out to me to commission an op-ed about racism in San Francisco, “the most progressive city in America”.
As a Black man having been born and raised here, I had quite a unique perspective to offer. And it wouldn’t be the last time.
“We Don’t Need No Water” (aka “The Performative Arts” ) (June 2020)
After the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, many corporate brands and arts organizations were quick to jump on the “Black Lives Matter” bandwagon.
Unfortunately, most of those organizations have histories just as racist as the actions being protested.
“Language of the Unheard” (August 2020)
As the protests continued, a lot of attention was paid to the property damage caused. Despite the fact that a lot of the violence was done by cops and white supremacists, the images and headlines of destruction have been used to discredit the Black Lives Matter protesters.
When you value broken windows over Black lives, then you are part of the problem.
“Watching the Games in Black and White” (September 2020)
With 2020 full of Black Power protesting, the start of the NFL season supposedly brings a much more “woke” League where taking a knee is par for the course.
Too bad the League athlete who kicked off that movement isn’t even allowed to try for any of the teams.
“We All Saw This Coming” (January 2021)
On the 6th of January, the lame duck sitting president – who refused to accept that he’d lost re-election months prior – stirred up his white supremacist acolytes into storming the US Capitol Building.
This was not a random or unexpected turn, it was the result of nearly 20 years (particularly the four-year tenure of said lame duck) of white American bigotry being empowered to the point that it resulted in an attempted coup.
If you’re anything like me, you saw it coming a long way off.
“Back to Normal isn’t Good Enough (aka We STILL See You, White American Theatre)” (March 2021)
A year after the entertainment world came to terms with its long-held, widespread issues of discrimination, Bay Area theatre needs to be reminded that they’re still under scrutiny.
“March Sadness” (March 2021)
March 2021 didn’t just mark one full year since the start of COVID lockdowns, it also marked the anniversaries of several local and national milestones that nearly flew under the radar. Not only are those milestones important to remember, they also happen to prove how far we have to go as a society confronting racism and class inequality.
“Breathing a Little Easier” (April 2021)
Everyone in San Francisco knows the significance of 4/20. Unfortunately, this whole pandemic thing wound up cancelling it for the second year in a row.
But fate had plans for me that day. It turns out that this 4/20 was the day I got my first dose of the COVID mRNA vaccine and the day George Floyd’s killer had his verdict read in open court.
In fact, those two things wound up happening at the same time.